Sunday, December 31, 2006

New Beginnings

Minnie Pearl – A fresh breath of spring/the end of a cold hard winter

New Beginnings


If there was ever a man who needed a new beginning – Job.

Key Scripture: Job 22:28 You will also declare a thing, And it will be established for you; So light will shine on your ways.

This is what Joshua did when beginning his new day. He said:

Joshua 24:15 “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

Long before 1905 and the first New Year’s celebration to be held at Times Square in New York;

Long before AD45 and the adoption of the Julian Calendar which made January 1st the beginning day of each new year since;

Long before the birth of Christ; the times of the prophets, the reigns of King Saul, King David or King Solomon;

Back before the Judges in Israel … all the way back to the giving of the Law to Moses and the children of Israel at Mount Horeb more than 3500 years ago …

God gave instructions for the observance and celebration of a New Year.

God commanded His children to begin each New Year by

* first ridding themselves of the past evils, failures, sins and disappointments,

* and then pledging themselves to a greater, more Godly and productive year ahead.

Exodus 12:2 "This month shall be your beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you.

We initially see this New Year’s Observance spoken of in Exodus the 12th chapter and then on throughout both the Old and New Testaments from Leviticus to the book of Hebrews.

God was the First Author of a New Year’s Resolution.

He understands the value and the benefits of a New Beginning, A Clean Start, A Fresh Chance and God set His children up to have a New Beginning at least once each year.

Even though it is God’s will and purpose that we each have access to New Beginnings, it can still take a lot of effort on our part. It’s not always easy to stop something we need to stop or start something we need to start.

Some new beginnings take real and lasting commitment but offer real and lasting benefit.

So, if we are going to go to all the trouble of a new beginning, we may as well know what it takes to get it right and to be successful.

Lets look at some scriptural examples of what it takes to have a New Beginning … A Fresh Start … A New Year.

Won’t you turn with me to the book of Deuteronomy

All through the bible we find new beginnings.

One such case, in the book of Deuteronomy, shows Moses reminding the children of Israel about their journeys in the desert since leaving Egypt.

Moses realizes that he is about to move off of the scene and leave his successor along with the next generation to accomplish what he had begun for God.

When it comes time for his farewell speech he does not fail to remind the people what it will take to have a successful New Day.

In Deuteronomy 5, Moses rehearses the Ten Commandments as a basis for daily life.

The 10 Commandments are broken down into two distinct groups and written on two tablets of stone.

* The first group includes Commandments 1 through 4

> These deal with man’s relationship with God

* The second group includes Commandments 5 through 10

> These deal with man’s relationship with man

Then in Deuteronomy 6 Moses begins his summation of these commandments and tells those who are entering into this New Day that their future success will demand attention and adherence to these laws.

Now lets read from Deuteronomy 6 NKJV

1 ¶ "Now this is the commandment, and these are the statutes and judgments which the LORD your God has commanded to teach you, that you may observe them in the land which you are crossing over to possess,

2 "that you may fear the LORD your God, to keep all His statutes and His commandments which I command you, you and your son and your grandson, all the days of your life, and that your days may be prolonged.

3 "Therefore hear, O Israel, and be careful to observe it, that it may be well with you, and that you may multiply greatly as the LORD God of your fathers has promised you—‘a land flowing with milk and honey.’

4 ¶ "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one!

5 "You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.

It was a New Day, A New Beginning for the Children of Israel and Moses wanted them to be successful. These were his parting words.

Around 1500 years later, near 30 miles across the Jordan River from where Moses made this speech to his successors, there was another New Day approaching for God’s chosen people.

Jesus, the Christ, the Son of the Living God, had completed His earthly ministry and was ready to be offered up as a sacrifice for the sins of all mankind.

He, like Moses, was ready to move off of the scene and leave the continued work of God to His successors and future generations.

He also, like Moses, understood the costs of a New Beginning and all that a New Day promises.

Jesus also wanted His followers to succeed.

Matthew 22 records Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem during the last week of His earthly ministry.

During that week Jesus made the time to remind those who were entering into this New Day what it would take to be successful.

Like Moses, Jesus chooses to go over the Ten Commandments with these future leaders one more time.

In Mark 12 Jesus sums up God’s requirements for being successful in this New Day. He does so by expounding on what Moses had said centuries earlier. This duplicated example demands our attention.

Lets read from Jesus’ summation out of

Mark 12 NKJV

29 Jesus answered him, "The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one.

* Recognize that from Deuteronomy 6:4? It’s an evident pattern for a New Beginning. Jesus continues:

30 ‘And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment.

31 "And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these."

Reading Matthew’s account it is recorded that Jesus concludes:

Matthew 22:40 "On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets."

What is Jesus doing? He is summing up the Two Tables of Stone

Whether seeking a Fresh Start, A Second Chance, A New Day, A New Beginning or A New Year, the admonition from Moses in his day, Jesus in His and the Holy Spirit in our today is the same.

If we are to put the past behind and reach toward a greater future and lasting success, we must resolve to keep these commandments of God. (Not the letter, but the spirit - the intent)

He Who framed the law had an intent around which He framed it. This intent cannot be understood or adhered to by the letter, but by the spirit. This is evident from: Romans 2:29; 7:6 & 2 Corinthians 3:6.

The intent of God’s commandments is this: That we, His Children, would live as examples, showing that we:

1. Love God more than we do ourselves

2. Love others as much as we do ourselves

On these two principles hang all the will and purpose of God for mankind. These are the cornerstones of any New Beginning.

What about you, are you resolved to begin your New Year right?

Make your declaration: “As for me and my house …”